More About the Author
Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle Uniersity in the UK and currently Visiting Professor at the MIT Media Lab, Sugata likes building labs. Here are some of the things he did in the labs be made:
1978: Computational Chemistry lab In the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. Found that the energy band structure of organic semiconductors, which determine what the molecule does, depends on its structure and not on the constituent atoms. In other words. Design determines function.
1981: Electrochemistry lab, IIT Delhi and the Technical University of Vienna, Austria. Designed a zinc-chlorine battery that is still in use.
1984: Technology Lab at United India Periodicals in Delhi. Here he created a PC networking based publishing system for a newspaper and predicted the beginning of desktop publishing. Here too were born the Yellow Page industries of India and Bangladesh.
1990: The R&D labs at NIIT Limited, New Delhi. From here came Imaginet, a hyperlinking environment,while the Internet was beginning in the rest of the world. India's first perception recorder, a continuous voting machine, was made here. Augmented reality, remote controlled Internet cameras and vehicles, tests for learning styles, intelligent medicine dispensers, talking displays for museums, were all designed and built here.
1999: NIIT's Centre for Research in Cognitive Systems. From here came a set of experiments with unsupervised learning amongst groups of children with the Internet. Later called the 'Hole In The Wall' experiments, these experiments were repeated in slums and villages all over India, Cambodia and Africa. The results were to shake the very foundations of formal education.
2006: Newcastle University. From here, Mitra devised the concept of Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs), where children control their own learning much as they did from their holes in the wall. Through a series of experiments in England and India, he showed that groups of children can learn anything by themselves. A friendly, but not necessarily knowledgeable adult mediator helps, and Mitra went on to create the 'Granny Cloud', retired teachers who interact with groups of children over Skype.
2012: MIT Media Lab: Sugata Mitra now spends three months in England, three months in India and six months in the USA. He is trying to answer Nicholas Negroponte's question, 'can children learn to read by themselves?'